Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Well, not much in terms of blogging for the last month, but lots of change within the realm. I’ve (finally) launched my own blog url… re-education.net (or cliveparkin.com if you come from a different direction), giving me the chance to have a decent domain name, my own (purchased) theme that I can fiddle around with and all that comes with all of the switch to wordpress.org

Road sign merging

Road sign merging (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This includes having little to no idea about how everything works. I love my new theme, but saying that there is a difference between the schmick looking preview on themeforest and what currently exists on my own url is stating the obvious. First lesson… wondering what was needed with png images that would ‘fit’ the screen the best way. I still have some way to go. Haven’t worked out how to do my title banner yet. There is a great series of (silent… I think it comes from Vietnam) YouTube clips that show a moving cursor doing a whole range of changes. A great resource, but it will take some time to ‘decode’ for a relative newbie like me. Looks like the next few weeks will see some tinkering.

Next up, it looks like I’m going to get a lot of spam. Amusing in a way, since I’ve not even posted on that site yet, but offers of how to x-ruple my internet traffic have been coming in… they always seem to pop in about 12:15am my time… not sure what that signifies. It looks like WordPress.com managed to block a lot of this crud. Mind you, I was getting a lot of stuff from Project AWOL beforehand.

Anyway, for the next few posts, I am going to straddle the two sites. I’ll keep this site going for a while – to flag with my small band of loyal retainers where my destination is, while also setting up the new site. Bear with me while I get the layout organised… it is going to take some time.

Thanks for your patience.

A post about rejuvenation…

I’m one term shy of my long-service leave and have been taking the moment to reflect forwards… should that be proflect? Without ever intending the flow of events, thanks to a range of circumstances, I managed to move from school to university to a teaching job before I’d graduated from university. At the end of nine years, I changed schools and in doing, missed the first chance for long service leave that I might have earned. At the time, the challenge of starting a new job meant that I probably didn’t need the break.

Now, nearly eleven years later from that switch, I’ve decided that a break is probably a good thing. I’m one term shy of 80 terms and aside from the regular school holidays, have moved from term to term in succession. So, I have been taking the time to enjoy the looking forward and the need for time down, which I’ve decided to take over two school terms. And while I don’t want to plan too much, I thought a bit of proflection, in thinking about how I should spend the time, mightn’t be a bad thing.  I’ve got my Masters of Ed on the go, so a couple of units there are factored in and I’ll mostly be around as the kids will still be at school. We might look to go on a holiday, perhaps to Fiji. But I’m enjoying the daydream of what else I might (loosely) occupy my time with. Here is the current list:

  • Might try to build in a bit of exercise – bike riding, swimming, maybe even a bit of running. Something 2-3 times a week would be great.
  • An art class – pen and ink is something that I’d like to have a go at.
  • Or maybe work on trying to crack cryptic crosswords… at last.
  • Some regular piano time
  • Maybe a bit of writing
  • Not re-reading school text books that I’m teaching…

    setting up for a different sort of routine

    setting up for a different sort of routine

The last one leads on to my aim of reading (more or less), one book per week. Being ‘off’ from mid December till mid July means a goodly number of books. Books that I have often overlooked in lieu of school texts or waiting for a time to enjoy them fully. Which is now…

The list, only in its infancy, might include:

  • Catch 22
  • Margaret Atwood (generally)
  • Michael Ondaatje (likewise)
  • Cormac McCarthy – No Country For Old Men
  • A Russian novel… not sure which… not even sure I’d want to do this! Perhaps Crime and Punishment?
  • More of Peter Carey, more of Tim Winton, more of George Orwell
  • Maybe some novels I ought to read again… Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying which I read in 1990, comes to mind
  • Maybe a run of a literary award… like my gaps in Booker Prize winners
  • A poem a day
  • More non-fiction. Probably some history.
  • Possibly a little literary sugar, in the form of the odd “page turner” or two, to balance out the literary “vegetables”

As mentioned, this is just a general musing as I write this post. I haven’t even visited the books that sit patiently in our spare bedroom! Feel free to let me know of anything that you think would be worthy of factoring in for the proflection, whether it be reading or recreational!

DPChallenge: Map it Out

In checking out the Reader section on WordPress, I came across the Writing Challenge section and, always looking to pick up my skills in Blogging, I decided to give it a go. Here then, is my first effort at using an embedded map and under taking a writing challenge – I hope you enjoy it.

Above is a map of Koroit, which, for my overseas readers, is at the end of the Great Ocean Rd in South West Victoria, at the “bottom” of mainland Australia. It lies just west of the larger main ‘city’ of Warrnambool, which you can see to the right of the map (population 30 000). Koroit, by comparison, has about 2000 residents and is remarkable for having, in its heyday, the largest Irish population per capita in Australia.

Koroit Cemetery – dating back to the mid 1800s

We have been staying here, with relatives, for the past week. It is a beautiful location and, in contrast to other parts of Victoria, is relatively protected from the hot summer weather by sea breezes that hark back to Antarctica. Thus even the hot days (40 degrees celsius the day after we arrived) obtain relief in the late afternoon from a southerly wind change. This while a number of bush and grass fires burn out of control in the States of NSW, Victoria and, across Bass Strait, in Tasmania.

This trip has been memorable for a number of reasons. My son and daughter are now of an age to appreciate both family and location. Thus we had my son, now aged 8, express an interest in visiting the local cemetery. Having not been to such a place before, I asked him the reason as to his desire to go. His answer, to see “the chess pieces” that were the crosses and angels atop the various markers and tombstones, visible from the highway. They had piqued his interest as we went back and forth at 100km an hour to town.

The Koroit to Port Fairy Rail Trail - looking towards Port Fairy

The Koroit to Port Fairy Rail Trail – looking towards Port Fairy

Having got there yesterday, my daughter’s reaction was more of concern for the rabbits that had burrows all over the place, in case they “got out onto the highway and got run over”. Perhaps not surprising from a five year old. For me, as always, it was looking at the contrasts in the big pieces of stone. The families who had multiple children pass away before the age of five; the son who “failed” to reach his father’s 104 years by only managing to make 102.

For me, the big boon of the holiday has been the discovery of the rail trail – a bike track converted from a former, disused rail line. From Koroit, this heads 20km both South East and  South West – the former to the township of Port Fairy,  the latter, to Warrnambool.

The track gently undulates and, so long as you keep above 10km an hour, you can outpace the flies that proliferate the area, courtesy of the rich dairy farmland surrounding the track. It is wonderfully peaceful, with your only company being the odd fellow cyclist, dairy cow, sheep and the finches that dart about. The wind blows continuously from the south, with the occasional waft of liquorice like fragrances from the surrounding flora. A quick takeaway coffee at the other end, to recharge, prepares you for the return journey that passes the slow moving rivers of the Moyne and Merri.

speedway

Lining up for the start at the Speedway

Then there have been other summer offerings – the trip to the Speedway last weekend, again a (very loud) first for my family. The relative ignorance we faced at the protocols involved with the sport slowly dissipated, in amongst the noise of the angry hornet like behaviour of the wingless cars and their  F500 “winged” counterparts.

As well as this, the trip last night to the seaside carnival, where my son “drove” his first dodgem car and both children “won” mini hand pull helicopters on the clowns… $10 for three games and the cheap plastic flying rotors continue to whiz about the grandparent’s garden 24 hours later; the life-expectancy of the cheap toys surpassing all predictions.

Then there are those simple things that take you back to your own childhood. Like my daughter’s discovery of the simple things, like the euphoria as you learn to climb a tree for the first time. With advice such as “look for the branches that are as thick as your arms or bigger” from her mother, she dispensed with fear and revelled in the thrill of going “higher than you Dad!”

from a tree in Poppa's back yard, the world beckons

from a tree in Poppa’s back yard, the world beckons

The journey is coming to an end, but, for a five and eight year old and their (somewhat) older parents, many memories will endure.